Sunday, September 23, 2012

Journey to Palookaville

That there is Ian Enggasser in front of Palookaville Chili, which he opened about a year and a half ago with his own money and what he could scrape together from friends and family. He already had the most important ingredients: plenty of heart, soul and guts.

Enggasser piled it all into a kettle smack dab in one of this town's oldest, grittiest and funkiest neighborhoods: Ohio City. Then he let it simmer until he had one kick-ass mess o' chili.

I had a bowl of his hot pork chili for dinner last night with a big ol' dollop of sour cream and a couple packages of those delicious little oyster crackers that don't bear the slightest resemblance to an oyster but are more like a saltine cracker that's shaped like a mutant dumpling.

We're talking a bowl of top-notch homemade goodness brimming with tender chunks of lean hand-cut meat (pork, beef or chicken) amid a spicy stew full of fresh vegetables and chilis.

It was a good thing. It was a bad thing. Because while this chili totally rocked my face off, it also ruined my own crappy beans/ground meat chili forever. Yeah, yeah.

Palookaville also serves up meatless chili and corn bread and burritos and beans and sammies and some other stuff like (ahem) MILKSHAKES.

This next part fills me with so much joy that I'm practically taking my pants off.

On Monday,  Sept. 24 at 10 p.m. EST (that's tomorrow you, deadbeats), the Food Network will debut its new show $24 in 24, wherein a goofy host goes to a city and buys breakfast, lunch and dinner for 24 bucks. The first episode was filmed here in CLE.


Yes, Engasser and his groovy little chili joint will be one of the eateries on the premier of $24 in 24, which is exactly perfect and righteous and proof that sometimes the good guys win despite all the miserable bastards who are trying to take the world apart with sheer negative karma, endless bellyaching and general candy-assery.

When I was in Palookaville Chili yesterday to interview Enggasser for a different story, the place was pretty quiet. Methinks things will liven up plenty over the next couple of weeks.

Life. Is. Beautiful.

*  *  *


Anonymous said...

Chili good, politics sucks, football good.

James Old Guy

Contrary Guy said...

"Chili good, politics sucks, football good."


Hey didn't culinary meth elf Rachael Ray have a show like that? Only hers was eating on $40 a day. And now we're down to $24 a day. I'm sure the poli posters will have a field day with that tidbit.

Bill said...

The odds are against Egasser but I hope he does well and gets franchised and becomes a one percenter who the left starts hating after he reaches 300 stores and branches out to China. USA, USA!

Erin O'Brien said...

... all the miserable bastards who are trying to take the world apart with sheer negative karma, endless bellyaching and general candy-assery.

uh huh.

Michael Lawless said...

Enggasser artfully creates gas... all is right with Pallookaville.

Erin O'Brien said...

Yesterday I brought home containers of his beef, pork and verde chicken chilis.

The Goat ate the beef last night (like I said in the post, I had the pork) and I had the chicken for lunch today. It is so much better than the crap we're used to--including my own.

It's not gloppy thick. It's got a thinner texture that is fat on flavor.

I am ruined. I swear I was eating that chili today after a long cold walk (got caught in the rain) and it was like a gift from god.


Anonymous said...

I believe you when you say this fellow's food is outstanding but I can't believe your chili is that bad.

"I hope he does well and gets franchised...and branches out to China."-Bill
A capitalist's dream. Have his product produced in labor camps.
Better that he should have a massive MI and experience instant death.

Randy Johnson

DogsDontPurr said...

There is chili...and then there's chili. I know what you mean about being forever spoiled.

About a hundred years ago, I went to a chili cook~off in a tiny back woods/cow town in Eastern a tavern that looked more like somebody's back yard shack than an official drinking establishment.(This was way before David Lynch and Twin Peaks and Northern Exposure turned that region into a tourist/fan destination.)

This was down home cooking at it's best. A lot of the meat had been locally *hunted.* (Note: the phrase "locally sourced" had not even been invented yet.)

And beans? What are beans? You got meat and you got chili. Everything else is a secret. No beans.

This was the most amazing food I may have ever put into my mouth. On fire!!!

Never before or since, have I experienced anything like it.

Erin O'Brien said...

RJ: Soylent Green is people.

DDP: Eggzacklee!

twinklysparkles said...

Send some here. Please!!! I need some beef chili because I am bad bad badly anemic right now. Just can't keep up with the peri-menopause.

This makes me miss Ohio City but that was about a million years ago.

We must meet you in Ohio, O'Brien. What the eff?


Erin O'Brien said...

Name the day, twinks.

Anonymous said...
Do you know where your goat is?

James Old Guy

Anonymous said...

Didn't the phrase "tip to palookaville" used to mean "getting your ass kicked"?

Erin O'Brien said...

"No Goat Left Behind"

I wish I could have a goat (the four-legged variety). I'd let the miserable bastard roam around and eat the grass, but they are not permitted here in My Blue Heaven and even if they were, the miserable coyotes would probably get him.

I think I ate goat head soup once at a big Greek dinner. It was okay. At least I didn't get an eyeball and believe me, I was happy about that.

As for origin of Palookaville, anon, I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Off topic:(Sort of)

Scab Refs cost gamblers estimated 150 million with blown touchdown call. See:MNF-Green Bay @ Seattle.

Here's to franchises and gravy sucking owners.

Randy Johnson

Goat said...

Just a money shift-- not a loss. (although it feels like (is) a loss if you bet the Packers ). The gravy sucking owners win again because everyone is talking about football--and fans will watch to see the next disaster that this season is becoming.

Anonymous said...

NFLPA needs to get behind the refs.

A player walk out might bring some action.


Bill said...

I like the replacements. The weird calls are entertaining. Like in baseball.

Erin O'Brien said...

Guys talking sports on my blog?


Bill said...

I was thinking the same thing, Erin. I was going to say something like; you can't be a good ref if you're not in a union. You know, to make it more political. But, decided against it.

Anonymous said...

"I like the replacements. The weird calls are entertaining."-Bill

Maybe they should just put the outcome of the game to a vote of the audience. Like American Idol.


Goat said...

I agree RJ-- If the money stops flowing they would have an agreement the next day.

Back to the subject at hand, the chili shop owner said on the show that palookaville was referenced in the movie" On The Waterfront". I believe it is a term for a reeaally bad boxer.

Anonymous said...

Doing a combo, wonder if they make a Goat Chili for the NFL crowd?

James Old Guy

Anonymous said...

Goat said...
"I agree RJ-- If the money stops flowing they would have an agreement the next day."

And I do think it's an excellent opportunity for the unions. It's a classic Capitalism tale. Spend a little more to provide the genuine article or cut corners to provide a cheap imitation. However in this case, much to the chagrin of peeps like Bill, the production of the product can't be outsourced to China. The consumers, the fans, could also influence the behavior of the owners by refusing to attend the games.


Bill said...

1. Referee competence has nothing to do with unions.

2. Chinese replacement refs, with work visas, of course, would add an international flavor to the games.

3. The current replacement refs deserve a chance to succeed. I really don't like the bullying that's going on right now. The mean spirited put downs, even by the President, is just unfair and mean.

4. I wish we had a replacement president.

Anonymous said...



Randy Johnson

Erin O'Brien said...

Randy, I am so glad you are back.

Anonymous said...

And 3...

If the frking Packers and the NFLPA had gotten behind the recall of Gov. Walker it might have had a different outcome.